Catering Equipment – What, Who and Why

What is Catering Equipment?

‘Catering Equipment’ is a pretty loose term these days. Obviously the definition of catering equipment would be something along the lines of “equipment used in the food catering industry”. What is classed as the ‘catering industry’ these days isn’t so clear now though.

The types of equipment under the ‘catering equipment’ umbrella vary from Refrigeration, Ovens and Cooking Equipment right through to tableware, cutlery and utensils. Many catering equipment suppliers tend to specialise in a certain area such as refrigeration or crockery, whereas others try to cover all requirements with massive ranges of equipment in stock.

Who needs Catering Equipment?

The users of catering equipment are as varied as the equipment itself. Buyers can range from local authorities, hospitals and countrywide restaurant chains, down to domestic cooks catering for families and dinner parties.

Some of the main sectors requiring catering equipment could be grouped as; restaurants, pubs, bars, takeaways, caterers, local authorities, hospitals and schools. This is by no means a definitive list though; most businesses need catering equipment of some description even if it is just a tea trolley and mugs for an office.

Who makes Catering Equipment?

Catering equipment is produced all over the world. Some niche equipment is made to order in small workshops whereas other equipment is mass produced in factories and distributed throughout the world.

As in any industry, manufacturers produce equipment in varying degrees of quality and price. Much fabrication type equipment is now sourced from the likes of China, this has greatly reduced the price of equipment. Be sure to buy from reputable dealers as although bargains can be had, quality can sometimes be reflected in the price.

Some of the big names in the UK catering equipment industry are Parry, Imperial, Sunnex, Robot Coupe, Dualit, Blue Seal, Mondeal, Newscan and CRC.

Who sells it?

Traditionally catering equipment has usually been sold by local dealers with warehouses and showrooms in trading and industrial estates. Salesmen are always on hand to show off products and give advice. This type of setup tends to have high overheads though, salesmen, warehouses and showrooms all cost money.

The solution many found to these expensive overheads was selling by auction. This method was often used for both new and second hand catering equipment. With this type of buying warranties were often an issue. Second hand and B-grade catering equipment was sold as seen, good prices could often be had but no guarantees could be made to the life of a product.

Now the massively expanding outlet for catering equipment is online. This type of selling reduces cost greatly, the need for showrooms and moving equipment to and from auctions is removed. These savings are reflected in online prices, catering equipment can now be bought new online for almost second hand prices, with the security of guarantees and warranties.

Constantly improving transport networks mean location almost becomes irrelevant. Overnight deliveries can be made nationwide and foreign buyers can even take advantage of attractive exchange rates.

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